The Women Who Made the Movement
Students learn about the individuals who shaped the women’s suffrage movement by comparing their actions with their depictions in the mainstream and suffrage news media.
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- Women's Rights
(Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan.)
- In advance, review the sample worksheet at the end of this lesson plan download. You may wish to distribute it to your students, as well. Write the list of possible research subjects (below) on the board or read to students.
- Tell students that today they will research participants in the women’s suffrage movement and how the news media at the time did – or didn’t – cover their actions.
- Assign or let students pick one of the people on the board to research. Give students 30 minutes to complete the worksheet.
- Discuss student findings as a class.
- Compare and contrast the news media’s representations of influential individuals.
- Vote for the woman they think had the greatest impact on the suffrage movement.
- Abigail Scott Duniway
- Alice Stone Blackwell
- Alice Paul
- Angelina Grimké Weld and Sarah Grimké
- Carrie Chapman Catt
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Frances Willard
- Jeannette Rankin
- Julia Ward Howe
- Lucretia Mott
- Lucy Burns
- Lucy Stone
- Matilda Joslyn Gage
- Maud Wood Park
- Paulina Wright Davis
- Susan B. Anthony
- Virginia Minor
- The Women Who Made the Movement worksheet (download), one per student or small group
- Internet access for research and to view woman suffrage timeline (below).
Women's Suffrage Timeline
Women's Suffrage Timeline
Discuss specific contributions of individual women and debate their importance. Prompts include:
- How did you define “influential”?
- Did any person you deemed influential not get newspaper coverage at that time? Why might that be?
- Do you think historians would agree with your class decision? Why or why not?
- Where could you go to learn more about these people to determine if this list holds up? (Ideas: additional timeline entries, Internet resources, library reference materials, etc.)
- How might history have been different without the contributions of any one of these individuals? Do you think other individuals would/could have stepped in to make up for their absence? Explain.
- Why is news sometimes referred to as “the first draft of history"?
- The Men Who Shaped the Movement: Discuss the role of men in the women’s suffrage movement. Although men were not the focus of this lesson, there were notable men both in and around the movement. Have students research the role of one of the following men in the women’s suffrage movement, starting with the related timeline entries below:
- Frederick Douglass — Seneca Falls Convention
- Theodore Roosevelt — New Party Supports Suffrage
- Woodrow Wilson — First Picket of the White House
Discuss your students’ findings. How did men contribute to this movement? Why do you think most of the prominent leaders of this movement, particularly nearing the culmination of its efforts with the passage of the 19th Amendment, were women?
- Leaders in the News Today: Have students research and write a profile of a contemporary social or political leader. Students should first attempt to gather information from non-news reference sources such as biographies or encyclopedias. Then gather a selection of news articles about an event or events in which this person played a role.
- Write an essay comparing and contrasting this individual’s achievements and personality as documented in reference sources with the way they are portrayed in the news media. Students should attempt to account for the similarities and differences.
- Newseum Connection: Visit the exhibit titled “Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement.” Have students identify the three individuals in this exhibit who they believe made the biggest impact on the movement. Compare and contrast their actions and impact with those of the women they deemed most important to the women’s suffrage movement.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
ISTE: 3a. Knowledge ConstructorStudents plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources.
ISTE: 3c. Knowledge ConstructorStudents create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.Historical Thinking.3A. Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas. B. Consider multiple perspectives. C. Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causation, including the importance of the individual, the influence of ideas. D. Draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues. E. Distinguish between unsupported expressions of opinion and informed hypotheses grounded in historical evidence. F. Compare competing historical narratives. G. Challenge arguments of historical inevitability. H. Hold interpretations of history as tentative. I. Evaluate major debates among historians. J. Hypothesize the influence of the past.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.Historical Thinking.5A. Identify issues and problems in the past. B. Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances. C. Identify relevant historical antecedents. D. Evaluate alternative courses of action. E. Formulate a position or course of action on an issue. F. Evaluate the implementation of a decision.
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.US History.Era 6Standard 1: How the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed the American people Standard 2: Massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity Standard 3: The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes Standard 4: Federal Indian policy and United States foreign policy after the Civil War
National Center for History in the Schools: NCHS.US History.Era 7Standard 1: How Progressives and others addressed problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization, and political corruption Standard 2: The changing role of the United States in world affairs through World War I Standard 3: How the United States changed from the end of World War I to the eve of the Great Depression
National Council of Teachers of English: NCTE.7Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
Center for Civic Education: CCE.VA. What is citizenship? B. What are the rights of citizens? C. What are the responsibilities of citizens? D. What civic dispositions or traits of private and public character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy? E. How can citizens take part in civic life?
NCSS Curriculum Standards: NCSS 1Learners will understand how human beings create, learn, share and adapt to culture.
NCSS Curriculum Standards: NCSS 2Learners examine the institutions, values and beliefs of people in the past, acquire skills in historical inquiry and interpretation, and gain an understanding of how important historical events and developments have shaped the modern world.
NCSS Curriculum Standards: NCSS 5Students know how institutions are formed, maintained and changed, and understand how they influence individuals, groups and other institutions.
NCSS Curriculum Standards: NCSS 6Learners will develop an understanding of the principles, processes, structures and institutions of government, and examine how power and authority are or have been obtained in various systems of government.
NCSS Curriculum Standards: NCSS 10Learning how to apply civic ideals to inform civic action is essential to participation in a democracy and support for the common good.